April 16, 2002 - Issue: Vol. 148, No. 42 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 2nd Session
IN HONOR OF FATHER PETER SAMMON
(Extensions of Remarks - April 16, 2002)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E535-E536] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] IN HONOR OF FATHER PETER SAMMON ______ HON. NANCY PELOSI of california in the house of representatives Tuesday, April 16, 2002 Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the life and work of a remarkable man, Father Peter Sammon, who died peacefully on March 21, 2002 in San Francisco surrounded by loved ones. Father Sammon was an inspiration and a friend to so many people, and we are all forever grateful for his work. We will miss him terribly. The following are my remarks from his funeral on March 25th at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco: It is with great personal sadness and official recognition of their loss that I extend my deepest sympathy to Tom Sammon and his entire family. All who loved Peter thank you for sharing him with us and for giving him so much happiness. To Sister Kathleen and Sister Lucia I extend condolences and appreciation to you for helping Father Sammon reach his fulfillment on earth and giving him the joy of a happy death. We can all hear him say: ``Here I am Lord.'' It should be a source of comfort to you at this very, very sad time that so many people mourn your loss and are praying for you. So many people were blessed by knowing Father Sammon. I want to express my appreciation for being allowed to bear witness to the life of Peter Sammon. Throughout his life Father Sammon carried on the legacy established by his namesake the Apostle Peter whose mission was bestowed upon him by Christ himself when he said ``Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.'' Peter Sammon was our rock and in his 50 years as a priest he continued to build Christ's Church. In doing so he touched so many lives. Whether as the Archdiocesan Director of Family Life counseling young couples, as the Chaplain of Newman Center at San Francisco State, or by forming the parish ministry with Presentation Sisters Kathleen and Lucia, he built the Church to do the Lord's work. This was pioneering work, a priest working with the sisters to form a parish ministry and training leadership among the laity; this was groundbreaking. Peter Sammon was a pioneer who broke new ground but never left the ground broken. He made the church the center of movements. Early on, he and Saint Teresa's Parish took up the cause of the Farm Workers and then the Salvadoran refugees. Four years and one day before his death, his friend and comrade in arms Jimmy Herman passed away. They were partners in many pursuits. We will all long remember their work together to turn back the ships carrying Salvadoran coffee, their refusal to unload the coffee. Fred Ross just reminded me this morning as we were crying of the sight of Father Sammon and Jimmy Herman on the docks refusing to unload the coffee from El Salvador. We take pride, but we must remember, those actions took courage. Father Sammon was our leader; he not only preached justice, he lived it. Injustice had an impact on Father Sammon that was palpable and he acted upon it. Whether in his leadership in the Sanctuary movement or working for immigrant rights or working for a living wage, Father Sammon always lived justice. Father Sammon considered himself lucky to be the son of Irish immigrants. It was through his understanding of the courage and determination of his parents, who came to America as teenagers, met here and raised their wonderful family, that he understood the magnificent contribution that Immigrants make to our country. Where some saw people in need, Father Sammon saw newcomers who constantly invigorate America with their courage, their hopes and their dreams. He saw their commitment to family values, to work and community. And he saw a spark of divinity worthy of respect in every one of them. Peter brought to his struggles the vision, the knowledge, a plan of action and the ability to attract supporters to his causes. He was a true leader and a great politician. All who were blessed to know him learned from him--not only what to do but how to do it. I certainly did and I know I speak for others who were so blessed. Father Sammon challenged the conscience of our society. We look at his work with pride but must remember that it took tremendous courage. The Bible tells us that to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship, to ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us all. By that measure Father Sammon's entire life is an act of worship. In his life Father Sammon worked on the side of the angels. Now he is with them. Thanks be to God. [[Page E536]] ____________________